The Earthly Paradise
by William Morris
This is the first part of a three part etext of William Morris' epic-length poem, The Earthly Paradise. The work is a sequence of 24 framed episodes (two per 'month') each with its own story, rather than one long narrative with a complicated cast. This invites browsing, as it is easy to drop in and read a complete story in one sitting. The entire poem is written in colloquial modern English with a few archaicisms. Morris draws from European mythology and folklore, particularly Classical mythology and the world of the fairytale.
In fact, the most complicated thing about this poem is its publishing history. There were two, three, and six volume editions, by both English and American publishers, (some of them pirated). However, it appears that the text of the poem is fairly standard across editions. For this first portion, I used an 1868 American printing which has the first six months in one volume. Forthcoming are the final six months in two separate volumes.